Dead Week: the gateway to hell for the holidays. It’s finally December, and most people on campus look like crap. I, for one, woke up this morning and did nothing more than brush my teeth. By finals week, people will be begging me to take a shower. Folks start showing up to class in their sweats and pajamas. Pedicures are chipping, and the dark circles are showing.

One can scarcely remember summer. Tits are now hidden under Gap sweaters, your ass is carrying 10 extra pounds of Thanksgiving turkey and tans turn to a lighter shade of pale. Girls look at the bikini in misery and men look at the ass in anguish. Not exactly Santa Baby sexy. It’s a ruthless spiral of Dead Week depression that lasts and lasts and lasts.

And everyone gets a little bitchier. You freak out over finals because you haven’t studied since the last midterm, yet you still have time for Monday Night Football. You’re trying to find a way to buy 10 Christmas gifts with 20 bucks without looking cheap. And if you’re in a relationship, things are definitely on the rocks, and I’m not talking about a good margarita.

Breaking up is a typical Fall Quarter event. And the best part is, it always tends to happen a few days before you plan to study for finals. Breaking up is also an art – not a thing most people recognize. It takes almost the same expertise that your sociology or global studies final does – good bullshitting skills.

Here are a few typical things you might encounter between now and Christmas:

1. “It’s not you, it’s me.” Since you can’t actually tell the person that you can’t stand the sight of him or her, this is the classic lie everyone is bound to hear at least once. Of course you’re breaking up with the bastard because it’s he or she who is insane, annoying and irritating as all hell. This plan somehow almost always works. No matter what the person getting dumped says, he or she will still be dumped. Because it’s you with the problem, not them, right?

That method is perfect if you’ve cheated on the person, because you’re not exactly lying.

2. “Metaphor, analogy, metaphor, analogy.” This is a simple equation, and if you use it, you will almost certainly confuse the other person so much that he won’t understand a single word you have said. Thus, the emphasis of the breakup is thereby placed on metaphor and analogy, and not you.

3. My personal favorite is the ambiguous parting. This technique is similar to the analogy/metaphor method because you must be vague and cryptic. Talk like it’s in code, say as many contradictory statements as possible. I had one guy say something like this to me:

“Beth, I mean I love you. No, I really do. I really care a lot about you. I don’t think we should stop seeing each other. But I love you like a friend. Not like a lover, but we can still hook up. But we’re not exactly dating.”

Miraculously, the guy managed to keep me at an arm’s length, while still gettin’ the booty after NBA playoff games. Amazing!

The beauty of a breakup is that no matter what, you always get to claim victim status. And you can always twist your breakup explanations and excuses into some obscure version of the truth.

Because really, she loves you, it’s just not working. He cares about you, he just can’t stand your fat ass and he can’t ogle your tits if you’re wearing a sweater.

Since you made it to UC, you should at least be smart enough to remember to break it off after they give you your Christmas present, that way you can rip out their heart and their pocketbook. No need in doing things half-assed, folks.

Daily Nexus sex columnist Beth Van Dyke likes to unwrap packages even if they aren’t under the tree.